Written by Consumer Protection BC’s enforcement department
Recently it’s been tough for you and your family. You had some major car and house repairs, and you owe money on all your credit cards. It’s been almost a year and the bills are adding up. You’ve tried to stay on top of the payments but the debt is piling up. Before long, a collection agency is calling you almost every day. The collector tells you that they are going to take legal action, and worse; they will garnish your wages! You really do want to pay your bills but you don’t have enough money. The calls are becoming very stressful.
What would you do?
(a) Never answer your phone again and hope they will give up calling.
(b) Tell the collector that you don’t want them to call you anymore, and give them notice that you wish for them to communicate with you in writing only.
(c) Find out your rights and responsibilities when it comes to debt collection in BC.
(b) and (c). It’s important to remember debt collectors are allowed to contact you about the debts you owe, however a collection agency must not continue to call you after you have provided written notice that you wish communication in writing only. You do have to provide your mailing address, and you must send the notice in a way that you can prove you sent it (registered mail, fax, email, in person). We have a comprehensive blog post that provides information about the rules a debt collector must follow (including when they can call you) and what you can do if the debt isn’t yours.
Consumer Protection BC is responsible for enforcing BC’s debt collection law (which covers both debt collectors who are located in BC, as well as those who are contacting BC residents about debts). The debt collection law in BC speaks to how debt collectors communicate with debtors and who is required to be licensed with us.
For more information about your rights and responsibilities when it comes to debt collection practices, please explore our blog posts with a debt collection tag.